It’s here again.
They’ve started selling baubles in the shops, I’ve seen several Santas popping up on the telly, and Cliff Richard must surely be doing a tour. This means the festive season is inexorably creeping up and now we’re past Halloween and Guy Fawkes, for better or for worse, we’re on the home straight.
For the corporate world that may well mean a party, a jolly day out, or possibly a “team build”.
OK so let’s nail my colours to the mast for a minute; I’m a big fan of Channel 4s “The IT Crowd”. It makes me laugh and if it doesn’t work for you try turning it off and on again as they say. Anyway, the first ever episode was all about the TEAM. In fact, it starts with Denholm (boss) insisting that the workforce work together as a team. It goes like this:
Denholm: Hello. What? Well if you can’t work as a team you’re all fired. That’s it you heard me, fired. Get your things and go.
Hello security. Everyone on floor four is fired. Escort them from the premises and do it as a team. Remember you’re a team and if you can’t act as a team you’re fired too.
Dawn. Get on to recruitment. Get them to look for a security team that can work as a team. They may have to escort the current security team from the building for not acting like a team.
Team. Team. Team. Team. Team. Team. I even love saying the word team. You probably think that’s a picture of my family. Uh uh. It’s the A Team. Body; Doyle; Tiger; The Jewellery Man. The whole lot of them. So what do you want to tell me?
Needless to say the traumatised IT team put aside their long list of complaints and slink away in fear of their livelihoods.
Watch and enjoy: IT Crowd Yesterday’s Jam
The thing is, we can tell people to work as a team, with underlying threats of dire consequences if they don’t. We can come up with a wide variety of exciting team building suggestions from skiing, to creating a movie, to racing around in rally cars. The ideas can go on and on, only limited by budget and imagination, but as my family would say,
Will it get the baby bathed?
If a sparkling clean baby stands for discovering and embedding effective and sustainable team behaviours that solve problems to achieve a desired goal how do we get there?
At Aspire, in our management and leadership training, we work with a variety of excellent partners who help us provide all sorts of activities but it’s the facilitation – unpicking and reflecting what goes on – that provides the learning. Awareness of a common goal is one thing but when a sense of competition, egos, fear, and limited vision enter the arena people can start to work against each other and the way forward becomes fraught with difficulty.
It seems to me that understanding the overall vision is fundamental. Also getting to grips with the team dynamic, the values, the give and take, the role of ego, ownership, leadership, the strengths and motivation of the individual, “What’s in it for me?’ is crucial to building and sustaining an effective team. How do you get each individual to take initiative and make the right decisions to act with vital energy towards making the common goal happen? I call it creating autonomy within a system.
So as far as team building suggestions go I think the world’s your oyster – for me its all about the how, why, and what of it all that matters.
That’s if you want to get the baby bathed by Christmas.